BORIS Johnson intervened to protect Tory aide Carrie Symonds six months before their close friendship came to light this week, according to Westminster sources.
Along with fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove, he is believed to have helped save her job as the party’s top PR executive after other ministers turned against her.
Last week, he announced he was divorcing his wife after she accused him of cheating her.
Mr Johnson and Mr Gove were reportedly “determined” to keep Miss Symonds in her high-powered post when the row erupted in February.
The dispute erupted just days after she was spotted lunching with Boris at an exclusive London restaurant.
And around the same time, she was seen chatting to both top Brexiteers at the Tories’ “black and white ball”.
Miss Symonds, 30, repeatedly took to Twitter to promote policies and speeches by the pair, calling Boris “absolutely brilliant”.
But her support for the two big beasts angered other Tory officials, who put out anonymous briefings attacking her work as director of communications.
One told a newspaper: “Tory HQ looks like Gove’s personal fiefdom, with endless plugs for him. They are supposed to be promoting all Ministers, not just one.”
In the end the aide stayed in her job for nearly six more months with the support of Mr Johnson.
A friend said at the time: “It is absurd to blame her for the party’s troubles. Michael and Boris are determined she stays.”
Miss Symonds – who has described herself as a “bloody difficult woman” – has gone to ground this week after news of her links to Boris emerged.
And the ex-Foreign Secretary has apparently gagged his own family, banning the outspoken Johnson clan from discussing his personal difficulties.
Approached by The Sun today, Boris’ telly star dad Stanley said apologetically: “I’m afraid I can’t talk. I’m not available to talk at the moment.”
Miss Symonds first worked for Mr Johnson in 2012, when she was on the comms team for his mayoral campaign aged just 24.
She has stayed close to senior Brexiteers including Mr Gove, John Whittingdale and Zac Goldsmith ever since.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
Yesterday The Sun named Miss Symonds as the ex-Tory aide who’s been linked to Boris in recent weeks as his marriage has come to an end.
Mr Johnson’s wife Marina Wheeler is poised to file divorce papers this week accusing her husband of adultery.
The couple have been married for 25 years despite his history of being unfaithful to her.